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Exports of virus-related medical goods sharply up in 2020

All News 13:00 April 01, 2021

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports of test kits for the new coronavirus, protective masks and other virus-related goods sharply increased last year amid the pandemic, data showed Thursday, with the country planning to further expand outbound shipments of such goods down the road.

Outbound shipments of such goods reached US$5.9 billion in 2020, rising from $1.28 billion tallied a year earlier, according to the data released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

In 2020, the country's overall exports came to $512.8 billion, down 5.4 percent from 2019.

The goods include a wide array of products from COVID-19 test kits and protective masks to hand sanitizers.

The ministry attributed the robust performance to the country's relatively successful efforts to contain the spread of the virus, which led to higher credibility of local products.

Since reporting its first patient in January last year, South Korea, with a population of 52 million, has so far reported a little more than 103,000 cases.

Exports of virus-related medical goods sharply up in 2020 - 1

Exports of medical test kits surged more than fourfold on-year to reach $4.5 billion in 2020. Those of masks also soared sixfold to reach $723 million, the data showed.

South Korea plans to speed up the exports of medical supplies through official development assistance (ODA) projects, while seeking to penetrate deeper into existing markets, including the United States and Europe as well.

The country also plans to help local companies win overseas approval for medical supplies, including from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

It will continue to foster potentially lucrative export goods as well, such as low dead space (LDS) syringes designed to minimize wasted vaccine doses by reducing space between the needle and the plunger.

colin@yna.co.kr
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